As a guest, I want to be respectful and understanding of my position within Turkey. I want to be sensitive about what I say regarding the current political situation. Just as I would question anyone who might comment on my country who is not from there, I want to be careful and well, polite.
However, I want to make one thing clear. The protesters have been called thugs, Çapulcu (which I think means loser), criminals and other inflammatory names by the current administration. From my point of view, this simply is not the case.
I have been to Gezi Park a couple of times and I have walked around Taksim Square since all this has started. The people I see are young professionals, students, children with their parents, and working people who feel that within this republic, their voices are not being heard. So they are peacefully gathering to stand united to have their say in a climate that is increasingly hostile towards them.
Again this is not my country and I am sure there are some troublemakers. But I can honestly say, from walking around the heart of Istanbul and throughout the side streets, I have yet to encounter a protester who has made me feel unsafe or unwelcome… even after they have been brutally subjected to tear gas and water cannons.
In my own small way, I want to be a voice for the protesters. It ain’t much, but right now, it’s all I got.